JASPER, Ala. (WIAT) — The recent arrest of an umpire in Hueytown is serving as a disturbing reminder for all athletic programs which involve children that child predators will try anything to get near them.
On Wednesday, directors are reassessing hiring practices and background safety checks.
“I think it’s a wakeup call for all of us,” said Willie Moore with Jasper Parks and Recreation. “We probably start making everyone provide us with the info giving us a copy of the records saying everyone is ok. We also use Alabama school officials so they go through the state high school association.”
Moore is in charge of almost 600 children involved with the parks and recreation program.
Every umpire and coach has a background check through the Alabama Amateur Softball Association (ASA).
“The minimum criteria includes offenses such as registered sex offenders, manslaughter, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, and the list goes on to include 24 different convictions including, rape, child molestation and child pornography, which would exclude any participation in the program,” Moore said.
Moore has been an umpire for 30 years, and he hopes this incident will force every parks and recreation program in the area to take a second look at what group they contract with to do background checks.
Moore says many parks and recreation programs in small towns are run by parents, but he still encourages them to pay for background checks because he says it’s worth the money.
2014 WIAT-TV CBS42